Calibration

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

  • Participant
    Geri McQuillen on #160185

    I should know this, but it has never come up before in my music instruction.

    Participant
    barbara-brundage on #160186

    Hi, Geri. Usually, unless the maker specifies otherwise, A=440 is the way to go for most harps. For period instruments it’s a lot less, sometimes A=415.

    Participant
    barbara-brundage on #160187

    Oops, should have said for gut and nylon. I don’t know about wire.

    Participant
    Audrey Nickel on #160188

    I don’t know what’s standard, but my wire harp is tuned to A-440.

    BTW, it’s really easy to get your tuner off-kilter.

    Participant
    Geri McQuillen on #160189

    Thank you all kindly.

    Participant
    Audrey Nickel on #160190

    That probably does explain a lot of your breakage problems.

    You probably already know this, but just in case…it will probably take the wire harp longer to settle into its new tuning than the nylon strung harp (and even that can take a while.

    Participant
    harp guy on #160191

    A=440 is generally the most common. I also think it might depend on the harp slightly as well. I have one harp that sounds best when tuned to 440, but another that sounds “thunky” and hollow at 440. It really sings and resonates when tuned to 442 though. I know, I know, it’s a minimal difference in pitch, but I can hear it, and it really makes a tonal difference on my Prelude. So you might want to try 440, then play around with it a little bit.

    Participant
    Audrey Nickel on #160192

    It also depends, to a great extent, on whether you plan to play with others. 440-442 is enough difference that you will hear some clashing.

    Participant
    Geri McQuillen on #160193

    You are all awesome!

    Participant
    Liam M on #160194

    Geri has your string breakage lessened? I was concerned as 13 htz high is not excessive and your string breakage should not be occurring. When I am settling in a new string on a test jig I frequently bring it a full step and one half over and allow it to settle back down over night without breakage.

    What harp do you have?

    Participant
    Geri McQuillen on #160195

    Thank you for asking Liam.

    Participant
    Liam M on #160196

    That’s great to know!

    Participant
    Audrey Nickel on #160197

    The difficulty is that so many things can contribute to string breakage.

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